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Method9455 03-10-2007 02:16 PM

Intel ICH8 (965) install guide with all SATA drives

So there is an issue right now trying to install Linux onto a computer where every drive is SATA. I'm pretty new to Linux, so I was trying to install Ubuntu first for about a week and couldn't get it going on my new computer (I had it once before), and after a bunch of searching found that its an unsolved problem in the Ubuntu world at the moment, but someone said that Slackware would do it so I decided to try out Slackware 11. I did ultimately get it going but it required a lot of fiddling (which as a linux noob was mostly trial and error) but now I have it going so I figured I post up a (crappy) guide to help anyone else trying to do it. I found very little info about the problem online that had a solution, but mine is pretty solid now.

The issue is that the intel ICH8 on 965 boards (Mine is an Abit AB9 Pro) only supports SATA drives. I built my computer without Linux in mind so I bought the AB9 based on its general performance, even though it is known to have a lot of issues with Linux and the JMicron IDE controller (now fixed so you can boot IDE drives and install linux fine). However I don't have any IDE drives, 2 Serial ATA hard drives (320 gb and 120 gb), 2 s-ata dvd drives.
My windows setup was:
100 GBs for Windows (first drive)
120 GBs for My Documents (first drive)
120 GBs for Backup of My Documents (second drive)
100 GBs un-formatted

My plan was to put a few linux distros on that 100 GBs for fun. Ubuntu loads the live cd when the DVD is put as the 1st boot drive, but fails to mount the file system, crashes and burns and there are no options that work (although knowing what I know now I'm going to try to get it to work tomorrow)

When you go to setup Linux following one of the guides (I mainly followed here) most of what it says is true. However there are a few issues specific to this problem.

The 2.4 kernel doesn't work with the ICH8 out of the box and I don't know if it can be made to, and most 2.6 ones can be made to but don't out of the box. Slackware 11 now uses sata.s instead of bare.i, THIS DOES NOT WORK FOR THE 965! The only two that will work are huge26.s or test26.s. They have "test26.s/config:CONFIG_SCSI_SATA_INTEL_COMBINED=y" in the kernel compile where as all the others on the slackware cds do not.

So now you want to put in the slackware disk 1 and load it up you have a prompt- type in test26.s I started here and could get the install to run until you had the partioning choice. Cfdisk loads up my drives fine but fdisk doesn't - which is contrary to what I heard should work. Anyway I used cfdisk and partioned the drives so long as I had test26.s as the kernel.

After partioning the next snag is the DVD drive - although it can boot off it, it can't install off it. I went back and partioned 10 gbs off my free space as FAT32. I unrared the slackware cds into the fat32 partion. i only needed CD 1 and CD2 so go into the 2nd cd and copy everything under cd2/slackware/ and put it into the other cd's folder that is named slackware. So now I had a folder that was in windows H:/1/slackware and H:/1/kernels. In linux it was /dev/sda8/1/slackware. Now when you run the linux install again using test26.s kernel, you get into the install and choose the install from hard drive option. Enter the drive first, in my case /dev/sda8 the next option type in /1/slackware and it should install.

I'm not sure if it can just be installed as full install. I never got it to work that way. I picked expert on the 2nd or 3rd try and under the A section unselect the 2.4 kernel. Install it without a kernel (this makes errors in the Lilo section)

I rebooted using the slackware cd and typed in test26.s root=/dev/sda7 noinitrd ro and it now eventually got my into slackware. Now it is kind of stable and so long as the cd is there to provide a kernel you can do quite a bit. I made a user and what not.

Now copy the contents folder /1/kernels/test26.s to /lib/

Edit your Lilo to look for the correct kernel (/lib/test26.s/bzImage) and it should be good to go

Sorry for the partial how-to/sloppyness of the method but I basically tried about ten times and ultimately hacked it together and got it going. There is probably a more direct method that I don't know about to get test26.s to be your kernel initially - but in the setup when it asks for a kernel and your options are CDROM, boot disk, floppy - i don't have a floppy drive, I don't have an IDE CD drive, USB flash drives don't work, and the hard drive doesn't work.

My setup is currently booting up fine with Lilo working, windows working, I can start KDE fine, I don't have network or nvidia drivers, I want to recompile the kernel, and I have a lot of tweaking to do, but in general it is stable and no error messages to that is a big improvement. I still can't access my dvd drives in linux but thats not such a big issue I thin that will get resolved in time.

duryodhan 03-11-2007 11:44 AM

Nice Guide.
You could have used huge26.s instead of test26. That would have probably worked better .. your network card would have worked most prob.

IMHO, your Comp shud be able to boot off a formatted USB drive. In the Slackware DVD there is a folder for USB installers , you could have possibly used that with huge26.s.(altho it would have probably required another linux box). Readup on it in the DVD.
After that you could put your installer thru the FAT partition that you made .

Or if you were really feeling like it , you could have used syslinux and made a bootable image of the Slackware CD that could run of the USB Drive. The concept is very simple ... instead of using ISOLINUX (which is for bootable CDs .. remember you get ISOLinux notice when you just start the bootable CD) you use syslinux (which is for bootable drives). Then mount the USB Drive (which contains the DVD Image) and use it to install.

Method9455 03-11-2007 12:29 PM

Thanks, I might try it again on a 2nd ext2 partition to get the specifics right and what not. I don't have the DVD becuase I'm at school and there is a stupid 1gb per day download limit as opposed to at home I can download all I want. I booted off the USB to flash my bios (didn't fix the problem either but worth a shot) but I only have a 64 mb and a 1 gb key so I dunno if I can fit it all on there but I'll try that too and see what I come up with. Either way I was very suprised by how easy Slack was to install. I knew it would probably be flexible enough to do it where Ubuntu isn't flexible at all - but it was only slightly more difficult to install compared to that - and I was expecting it to be very difficult. I really like being able to choose what packages you want installed, I hate having extra stuff in there even though I have more disk space than I need - it just clutters everything up.

duryodhan 03-12-2007 05:53 AM


I really like being able to choose what packages you want installed, I hate having extra stuff in there even though I have more disk space than I need - it just clutters everything up.
Then you are gonna LOVE slackware! :)

the USB drive image is 30MB. The remaining space is what you will need for the installer media. If you have a large USB disk you can keep all the installer data(the SLack CDs or DVD) inside the USB itself. Otherwise you can use the HDD for installer data. Thats all.

Finally its all upto what you want and whats your preference. Thats Slack! :)

The DVD image and the CD Images are the same btw, you can infact join the cD Images to a DVD Image. Search LQ , there was a thread about it . On google you can surely find it. I think it was in the openSuse Wiki.

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